7 Tips to Make Running Records Manageable and Useful
The opportunity to tailor one’s teaching specifically to the needs of each student is best taken advantage of during guided reading. Formative assessments, such as running records, are one method by which teachers can document their observations of students’ reading behaviours. When a student is oralizing their reading of a levelled text, the instructor will keep a running record of the student’s performance by making notes on the student’s errors as well as corrections. Teachers are able to plan lessons based on the needs of their students and collect data to demonstrate growth over the course of the year using this information.
Keeping running records and analysing the data can be a challenging and time-consuming process. The very busy classroom teacher may find the following suggestions helpful in making running records more manageable and less time consuming.
HOW TO MANAGE RUNNING RECORDS
1. Develop a timetable that includes: The collection of consistent data from each student will be made possible by a schedule. It is essential to have up-to-date data when teaching guided reading to students in the earlier elementary grades because they can progress through the levels of instruction very rapidly. By developing a timetable in which each student is assigned a day of the week, it will be possible for almost all students to maintain a weekly record of their progress.
2. Have an understanding of cuing systems and the relationship between them and errors. When teachers have an understanding of cuing systems (as described by Marie M. Clay), they are able to pinpoint the feedback that is necessary to assist students in reducing the number of errors they make and improving their level of comprehension.
Did you notice the mistake? If this is the case, the student needs to pay close attention to the meaning as they read. To be of assistance to the student, verbally repeat the mistake and then inquire as to whether or not it was understood.
When students make mistakes, it is possible that they are using two different cuing systems. A student might, for instance, change a word that doesn’t make sense to one that does make sense but is incorrect grammatically. When reading, they are taking into account the meaning as well as the syntax of the text; however, they need to concentrate on the visual aspect of the words.
3. Give the student immediate feedback: When you finish your running record, you have the opportunity to conference with the student and give them feedback on their performance. Students should be commended for their ability to self-correct or for making use of the strategies they have been instructed in at this point. It is also essential to discuss the error with the student and offer feedback on their performance. Holding a brief conference with the student after the running record gives them direction and explains the reading strategies they should implement while completing the reading assignment.
4. Maintain a data notebook: The purpose of the data notebook should be to demonstrate the development of the student. Every student ought to have their very own section, which ought to include all of their previous performance records. The student’s data notebook ought to show, over the course of time, evidence that the student is getting more accurate. In addition to this, there should be a greater number of self-corrections and additional evidence to show that students are applying the strategies and feedback that they have been taught.
5. Be sure to include questions that test students’ ability to understand what they have read. Accuracy is an essential component of reading, but if students do not comprehend what they are reading, even the highest accuracy scores are irrelevant. The implementation of comprehension interventions can start right away for teachers if they simply ask a couple of questions to check students’ understanding at the end of a running record.
A simple question like “Tell me about what you just read” can be used as a quick prompt to determine whether or not the students understood the text. This is the ideal time to test the students’ ability to draw logical conclusions, analyse the content of a text, and establish profound associations by asking them to answer questions of a more advanced level. The following are some comprehension questions that assess higher-level thinking and can be utilised with a variety of different texts:
Why did the setting play such an important role?
What indicators lead you to believe how the character was feeling?
What would be unique about the book if it was told from the point of view of a different character throughout its entirety?
What kinds of proof can you find that demonstrate (fill in the blank)?
What kinds of inferences can you make based on the information presented here?
6. Conduct an analysis of the instructional strategies: When you look at a running record, one question you should ask yourself is, “Are the strategies that I’m teaching actually being used?”
The student’s ability to transfer their knowledge should be documented in the running record. If you have been instructing the students in a particular strategy that will assist them in the event that they come across a word that is unfamiliar to them, a running record will provide tangible evidence of application. If you have been instructing your students to change the vowel sound (long/short) if the word does not sound correct, and one of your students substitutes “lick” for “like” during a running record (for example, “I lick my bike”), then they are not applying the strategy. It’s possible that it’s time to switch gears and concentrate on a different cuing system to assist the student.
7. Establish goals with the students When having a conference with the students, it is essential for them to be aware of what is expected of them at each of the different guided reading levels. Students can begin to feel more ownership over their own education by participating in goal-setting activities. Together with the instructor, they can determine both end-of-year reading goals as well as benchmark reading goals.
Discuss with them the reading strategies they will need to implement if they want to be successful and continue to develop as readers as part of this process. This will help them continue to develop as readers. Both students and teachers will be aware of the expected results if the running record notebook contains a page specifically designated for documenting the overall goals and quarterly or monthly benchmarks, in addition to the strategies that the students will need to use in order to meet these benchmarks. Students will not only be able to track their own development in this manner, but they will also be aware that they have a road map to assist them in achieving their goals.